News of Otsego County


Steeley Not Guilty In Twins’ Death


Mom Not Guilty

In Twins’ Deaths

By LIBBY CUDMORE •  Special to

Kimberly Steeley weeps in attorney Andrew Van Buren’s arms after the “not guilty” verdict was read by the jury foreman. (Libby Cudmore/

COOPERSTOWN – In just over three hours, a jury found Kimberly Steeley, 27, Decatur, not guilty in the June 2018 deaths of her infant twins, Bonde and Liam.

Steeley’s attorney, Andrew Van Buren, made the case that the babies died of SIDS – Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – in part, because they had come home from the hospital too soon. Both babies were preemies; Bonde, was just over 4 pounds when she died, and that Liam, who died 11 days later, was 5.14 pounds.

On Friday, March 6, Steeley testified that although she did fall asleep in bed with both of them on the nights they died, at no point was her body, bedding or clothing obstructing their airways.

Jury Begins Deliberations In Death Of Twins

Jury Begins Deliberations

In Worcester Twins’ Deaths

District Attorney John Muehl, left, lays out his case for a guilty verdict in the trial of Kimberly Steeley, charged with manslaughter in the deaths of her infant twins, Bonde and Liam, in June 2018, as part of closing arguments in Otsego County Court this morning. “This is a very sad case,” he said. “She lost her twins. But she made the decision to use drugs and sleep with her children, and the evidence says she is guilty.” Seated, at right, is defense attorney Andrew Van Buren, Hobart, and Steeley. In his closing statements, Van Buren pointed out the consistency across statements made by the Steeley family, including her mother, Arlene and her father, Christopher, while hammering the testimony of Thomas Hewitt and theorizing that the babies were brought home from the hospital too soon. “Bonde weighed four pounds, seven ounces when she died,” he said. “She was never going to make it, whether she was in a bed or a bassinet. She was going to die because the doctors sent her home from the hospital too soon.” Deliberations began just after noon. (Libby Cudmore/
Describing ‘Nightmare’ Of Finding Infants Dead, Steeley Takes Stand In Trial

Describing ‘Nightmare’

Of Finding Babies Dead,

Mom Takes Stand In Trial

Pausing frequently to wipe away tears, Kimberly Steeley took the stand for nearly two hours to testify in her own defense against charges that she smothered her two infant children, Bonde and Liam, in June 2018. Bonde died on June 5, the night she was brought home from the hospital, after Steeley said she placed the infant face-up on her lap and fell asleep. 11 days later, she was sleeping with Liam next to her on a pillow and awoke to find him unresponsive. “It was a nightmare,” she said. “I was in such shock (after Liam died) that I had to be sedated at the hospital.” But District Attorney John Muehl, inset left, maintains that Steeley, who admitted to using suboxone for an opioid addiction, committed manslaughter when she used the drug and brought them into bed, having introduced prior testimony that nurses had told her not to co-sleep, as well as testimony that the cause of death was asphyxiation. The prosecution rested after her testimony, and closing statements will begin Monday morning; if found guilty, Steeley faces 30 years in prison, 15 for each child. (Ian Austin/

Did Mother Asphyxiate  Twins – Or Did Father? Open Statements Set Up Scenario: Which Drugged Parent Responsible?

Did Mother Asphyxiate 

Twins – Or Did Father?

Opening Statements Set Up Scenario:

Which Drugged Parent Responsible?

The manslaughter trial of Kim Steeley, 27, of Decatur – seen weeping in court today – opened with two contrasting scenarios in Otsego County Court this morning. In his opening statement, District Attorney John Muehl blamed the mother for the June 2018 deaths of twins Liam and Bonde, born prematurely: “The real problem was, she (Steeley) was high and she nodded off on these children. In her altered state, she suffocated them.” But in his opening statement, defense lawyer Andrew Van Buren, Hobart, pointed out the father of the twins, Tommy Hewitt, was sleeping in the same bed, and had been furious when he learned Steeley was pregnant, punching her and chipping a tooth.  Still, Hewitt only leveled charges against Steeley after he was arrested under the influence and was looking for leverage, the lawyer said. “He’ll retract everything he said,” added Van Buren.  Both Steeley and Hewitt are expected to testify.  Both, according to the lawyers, were using Suboxone, an intoxicant used to wean drug users from hard drugs.  Inset are twins, Liam, a boy, and Bonde, a girl.  (Jim Kevlin/




Driver, 23, Charged With Vehicular Manslaughter, DWI

Brandon Lane
Brandon Lane

COOPERSTOWN – A former Cooperstown man is charged with vehicular manslaughter and DWI after a single-car crash at 2:13 a.m. Thursday where a 21-year-old Cooperstown woman was killed.

Charged is Brandon E. Lane, 23, now of Prattsville, was operating a 2001 Mitsubishi Galant northbound when the car went off the east shoulder of Route 80, according to state police at Richfield Springs.

The vehicle became airborne and struck a tree on the passenger side on coming to rest, troopers said.   An investigation determined that Lane was driving while intoxicated when he crashed, according to the police report.

Lane’s front seat passenger Julia A. Levandowski, 21, was deceased at the scene.  Otsego County Corner James Dow ordered the body to be taken to Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton for an autopsy.

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